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Dr. Christine Mann Darden and Syms students

Retired NASA executive visits Syms Middle School to share importance of mathematics

Dr. Christine Mann Darden recently visited Syms Middle School to speak with sixth grade students and algebra/geometry students. She provided insights and background information about the movie and book..."Hidden Figures", discussed her life, her challenges, and her career, talked about her research on sonic boom and the impact that it could soon have on everyday passenger flights, and she discussed "P to the 4th Power" and how she has used it to excel throughout her life: Perceive, Prepare, Plan, and Persistence.

After nearly 40 years of service, Darden retired as a member of The Senior Executive Service in March 2007 from NASA Langley Research Center, where she was hired in 1967 as a computer/data analyst in the Re-Entry Physics Branch. Her final assignment at Langley was as the director of the Office of Strategic Communications and Education (OSCE). In that role, she was responsible for the Center’s external and internal communications, community outreach, governmental relations and educational outreach.

During her NASA career, Darden authored more than 57 technical papers and articles, primarily in the areas of sonic boom prediction, sonic boom minimization and supersonic wing design. She was recently included in the book, “Hidden Figures” by Margot Shetterly (a graduate of Phoebus High School), as one who stood on the shoulders of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, NASA human computers, who as members of the segregated West Computers contributed to the NASA Space Program in the early 1960s.

Prior to her NASA career, Darden served as a mathematics instructor at Virginia State College and taught high school mathematics.


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